This is a guide for helping you choose the best electric cargo bike for getting kids to school, carrying a week’s worth of groceries, and any task you can imagine.
- Cargo bikes combine all the physical, financial, and environmental benefits of cycling with the ability to carry lots of stuff, including children.
- With the power of e-assist, you can haul everything from furniture to appliances while barely breaking a sweat.
- This is a guide for helping you choose the best electric cargo bike for getting your kids to school, carrying a week’s worth of groceries, and performing any other task you can imagine.
Move over minivans. Almost out of nowhere, cargo bikes have emerged as one of the most popular ways for families to quickly and conveniently zip around town.
With the capacity to carry multiple people at once, as well as sizable loads of groceries, packages, plants, pets, toys, and more, cargo bikes can do almost anything that a car, truck, or SUV can, but at a fraction of the cost.
And thanks to the next generation of electrification, it’s gotten a lot easier for the family chauffeur to pilot an oversized bike up hills and over bridges. Like a regular ebike, a cargo ebike uses a battery-powered motor to assist the movement of the pedals, which makes riding around with hundreds of pounds of kids and bags in tow much less arduous.
In short, you can use an electric cargo bike to move pretty much anything anywhere.
There are a multitude of electric cargo bikes on the market, and as we’ll see, an incredible variety of features and designs. This guide is intended to help you pick the one that is right for your everyday needs.
Who Should Buy an Electric Cargo Bike?
Electric cargo bikes are ideal for anyone who would like to get around by cycling, but needs room to transport additional passengers or bulky items.
Who Should Not Buy an Electric Cargo Bike?
Before springing for an electric cargo bike, there are some cheaper alternatives you might want to consider. Parents with infants or small children sometimes prefer to equip a rear seat or trailer to a regular ebike, and for office workers with limited gear to lug (notebooks, a laptop, etc.), a pannier or backpack may provide all the carrying capacity you need.
What Are the Different Types of Electric Cargo Bikes?
The term “cargo ebike” can refer to many different kinds of bicycles, but most consumer versions fall into two categories.
The longtail, which is the most common design, looks and rides like a regular bike but with a longer rear deck that provides extra room for luggage. Mount a seat or two (or three) on the back and you’re ready to take the kids for a ride.
Many riders gravitate toward longtails because, in terms of weight, size, and handling, they are on the sportier end of the spectrum. (Midtails, which are like longtails with shorter carriers, are even more agile.) The tradeoff with longtails is they have less cargo capacity than other form factors.
A bakfiet (it means “box bike” in Dutch) is basically a bike SUV. Equipped with a big bin, usually behind the front wheel, these ultra-long, wheelbarrow-like vehicles are insanely efficient at moving large loads of kids and goods. Some versions can carry upwards of 400 lbs (181 kg). Additionally, parents tend to like the front-loaded design because it allows them to keep an eye on their most precious cargo while they ride.
But if you are searching for something lightweight and portable, a machine that can be easily maneuvered into an apartment building and up several flights of stairs at the end of a long day, you may want to look elsewhere. With an electric motor attached, a bakfiet can easily weigh over 100 lbs (45 kg). Not surprisingly, these hefty haulers can also be punishing to ride uphill, even when using throttle assist.
Side note: An increasingly popular sub-variety of bakfiet are three-wheelers, or electric cargo trikes. While these builds enjoy the ability to stay up right on their own, they are known to be less nimble, especially when turning.
So which electric cargo bike is the best for you? We have some recommendations.
The Benno Boost E is incredibly comfortable and fun to ride—perfect for anyone looking for a leisurely cruise or a more adventurous journey, featuring no shortage of power and chunky tires for grip. Due to its small wheelbase, this longtail is actually no longer than a regular city bike, which is convenient for storage. The rear carrier is bolted on and can accommodate two children’s seats or two utility bags up to 133 lbs (60 kg). (Optional add-ons offer footboards rails, and more amenities for backseat passengers.) Although there is quite a bit of adjustability in the seat post and handlebars, one downside of the Benno Boost E is that the design is one-size-fits-all. Learn more.
Clocking in at a mere 50 lbs (23 kg), the Tern Quick Haul is as light as a feather (as far as cargo bikes go) and a cinch to carry when folded. The vehicle comes with a rear rack that can handle up to 100 lbs (45 kg) of goods, making it ideal for lighter loads. You also have the option to add a front rack for additional capacity. While the Quick Haul is competitively priced, be mindful that tweaking the default parts, like the seat post, or adding a front rack can jack up the price more. Learn more.
If you're looking for a bike that can keep up with all of your adventures, look no further than the Yuba Mundo. Its chromoly fork and suspension are designed to support up to 440 lbs (200 kg). Its ability to fit three kids without issue makes it great for anyone who has little ones tagging along. And with 21 speeds, the Mundo can handle any terrain you might encounter on your commute. Despite its numerous advantages, this bike does come with one major drawback: a hefty price tag. Learn more.
With enough capacity to carry a whopping 440 lbs (204 kg), the potential to reach 155 miles (249 kg) of range with a second battery, and a Bosch Cargo motor that can conquer almost any hill, the Tern GSD packs a mighty punch in a compact, 60-lb (27 kg) frame. Importantly for apartment-dwellers, this bike can be stood on its side and stored vertically so it takes up less space in your home or office. Higher performance comes at a higher cost, and it should be noted that the GSD is the priciest option on this list. Learn more.
If you have a large family that is constantly on the go, you may want something that is a little roomier. With space for up to four children to sit, the Bunch Original’s high-walled wood bin allows big groups to travel in comfort. Another feature families will appreciate is the Bunch Original’s three-wheeled configuration, which provides extra stability. And while bakfiet-style bikes aren't exactly known to be nimble, the Bunch Original’s powerful throttle-assist helps bring you from a full stop to cruising speed quickly, making tip-overs less probable. Learn more.
Thanks to dual racks on the front and the back, the powerful Eunorau Max Cargo can handle a truly amazing 440 lbs (200 kg) worth of goods without you having to worry that it will give out. This heavy-duty two-wheeler also features a comfortable one-size-fits-all frame, which is a nice feature if you plan on having other family members pilot from time to time. For the price it’s impressive. Learn more.
The Radwagon 4 is an excellent option for the family shopper or chauffeur. The bike is high in usability with generous payload capacity (350 lbs, 159 kg) as well as a number of tiny amenities that collectively improve the ride quality immensely (wide seat, fat tires, foot pegs). At only $1,899, the bike is undoubtedly a great value for its class. Learn more.
There’s a lot to love about the Magnum Payload Cargo, including hydraulic disc brakes for finer control, a heavy frame and large wheel base for enhanced balance, and puncture-resistant durable tires for worry-free maintenance. The bamboo carrier on the back of the bike is great for carrying a basket of groceries or adding a child seat. You can put up to 300 lbs (136 kg) of weight on the bike at one time. The only thing to remember is that there is no high-vis gear to make the bike easy to spot at night, so you should buy some lights or wear reflective clothes when riding it. Learn more.
Those in search of a sturdy, all-purpose bakfiet could do worse than the Cube Cargo Hybrid. With a large rear tire providing balance and a Bosch drive delivering stable power with each pedal stroke, this 100-lb (45 kg) aluminum behemoth promises a smooth, satisfying ride even under the heaviest loads. That’s especially good news for little ones riding up front in the immense basket. Learn more.
Los Angeles-based Cero makes only a single product, the One, and as its name suggests, it may be the only cargo ebike you will ever need. Two asymmetrical tires (20 inches in front, 26 in back) offer nimble steering, while also creating room for a second carrier in front to complement the one in back. And name-brand components mean you can expect a fluid ride with minimal maintenance. But before you try to pack a week’s worth of groceries onto the Cero One, bear in mind that the main rack is only rated to support 55 lbs (25 kg). This bike is not intended for major shopping sprees, but for quick trips to the store with the kiddo, it will do quite well. Learn more.